Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly collaborating with Intel to built 5G modems for the upcoming iPhone. According to FastCompany, Apple engineers are in talks with their Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) counterparts regarding early work on the 5G iPhone.
Will Intel’s 5G be better than Qualcomm’s?
Intel has reportedly deployed thousands of people to work on 5G technology to get a slice of the contract from Apple and to catch up with rival Qualcomm, report FastCompany, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. Further, the report states there has not been much dialogue between Qualcomm and Apple regarding 5G.
Intel’s announcement on Thursday lends some credibility to the report. On Thursday, the chipmaker announced that it has made “substantial advances” in the wireless product arena to accelerate the adoption of 5G. Intel noted that it has successfully completed an end-to-end 5G call based on early 5G silicon and sees it as a “key milestone in its development.”
Qualcomm is believed to be an early leader in 5G technology. However, according to FastCompany, not many carriers are looking forward to Qualcomm’s product. Further, Apple engineers seem to be single-minded when it comes to selecting between Qualcomm and Intel, as they believe Intel’s 5G modems fit the requirements for a future 5G iPhone.
FastCompany’s report is in line with previous rumors that Apple is considering making iPhones and iPads without Qualcomm chips.
Will Apple completely ditch Qualcomm for the 5G iPhone?
A 5G iPhone would be revolutionary, and thus, it is no surprise that Intel and Qualcomm are putting their best efforts into helping develop it. A 5G iPhone would be capable of connection speeds of a gigabit per second and beyond. It would transform our ways of computing, communication and consumption of content. However, the transition from existing tech to 5G is a complex process, and it requires better coordination between OEMs and potential vendors.
According to AppleInsider, Intel’s XMM 8060 chip for 5G networks will be available before the massive roll-out of 5G networks sometime in 2020. For Intel, supplying 5G modems to Apple would be a big win for its lagging modem division. Presently, the Cupertino, California-based company uses Intel modems for phones running on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks and Qualcomm chips for phones running on the Verizon and Sprint networks.
Shunning Qualcomm completely would be a big decision for Apple as the company relied heavily on Qualcomm modems up until the iPhone 7. After that, Apple started using a mix of chips from Intel and Qualcomm for the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
However, Apple’s ongoing dispute with Qualcomm could make it easier for it to decide on a modem supplier. Qualcomm recently fired off a lawsuit against Apple stating that the iPhone maker traded secret Qualcomm chip information with Intel. In the lawsuit, Qualcomm states that Apple got access to its software source after signing an agreement in 2010. Qualcomm stated that although the level of access was “unprecedented,” Apple said it was necessary, and therefore, the company agreed.
On Thursday, Intel shares closed up 0.42% at $45.65, while Apple shares closed up 1.19% at $171.10.